Posts Tagged: The Guardian

Beyond the Surface

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At the Guardian, Alison Flood wonders whether or not genre writing, particularly romance writing, is primarily “rubbish.” In her investigation, she points out how assumptions are often made about the “surface” elements of genre works and cites literary novels that have used the conventions of genre while maintaining their literariness.

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Leduc Revisited

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To write is to be liberate oneself. Untrue. To write is to change nothing.

Writing for the Guardian, Rafia Zakaria tells us about Violette Leduc: discovered by Simone de Beauvoir and published by Albert Camus, Leduc, the sexually explicit lesbian feminist, was largely unread even in her prime though has always been critically hailed, and her situation today is not much different.

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Fact or Fiction?

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For the Guardian, Richard Lea investigates the distinction between fiction and nonfiction writing, a distinction that exists most firmly in anglophone cultures and literature. Lea interviews several writers who work with texts in other languages, either as bilingual authors or translators, in order to find whether separating stories according to their factual content offers any benefit.

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The Power of Amazon

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How much of the world has Amazon taken over? The Guardian talks with University Book Store and Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, two independent bookstores, the former located less than a mile away from Amazon Books:

…manager Tracy Taylor pointed out that many Elliott Bay customers are in fact Amazon employees.

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Indie Presses Become Gatekeepers

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Big publishers traditionally rely on income from known authors to support taking risks on new writers. But those publishers have grown more risk-averse, avoiding unknown writers and focusing on mainstream books expected to perform well in the marketplace. Meanwhile, independent publishers are filling the shortlists of major prizes in part because they are willing to take risks with new authors.

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Poetry As Propaganda

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Oxford academic Elisabeth Kendall has found that poetry may be a major recruitment tool for militant jihadis in the Middle East. Although poetry is often sidelined in Western cultures, it is still important in Arab-speaking nations, where a reality TV show called Millions Poet gets more views than sports events:

“The language of poetry emulates the language in which the Qu’ran was revealed … jihadist publications make liberal use of poetry from the classical heritage, which they largely fail to attribute, but which listeners might find faintly familiar from oral tradition,” [Kendall] says.

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Fact, Fiction, Other

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Geoff Dyer, author of numerous nonfiction titles, discusses the increasingly blurry border between fiction and nonfiction—and more importantly, whether that distinction matters—at the Guardian:

As the did-it-really-happen? issue gives way to questions of style and form, so we are brought back to the expectations engendered by certain forms: how we expect to read certain books, how we expect them to behave.

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Writers Versus Censorship and Repression

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For the Guardian, Sian Cain reports on recent efforts from high-profile writers to push China to release Nobel Laureate and poet Liu Xiaobo from prison. According to Cain, Xiaobo was detained for “inciting subversion of state power,” and his supporters, including Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin, hope he will be released by the seventh anniversary of his arrest.

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You’re Such a Gollum

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A man is facing two years in prison after comparing Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Lord of the Rings character, Gollum. However, the judge in the case isn’t sure that the comparison is really an insult:

The judge adjourned the case to February and despatched…two academics, two behavioural scientists or psychologists and an expert on cinema and television productions…to pore over Gollum’s character and decide whether it is a comparison worth jail time.

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